“We have a responsibility and obligation to protect our players first and foremost.” Dickenson explains kneel on final play


With the stinging effects of Saturday’s loss still being felt in Riderville on Monday, Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson joined Michael Ball for his weekly appearance on the SportsCage.

There was plenty to discuss with Dickenson as the green and white were eliminated from the postseason with the 32-21 loss to Calgary.

One hot topic following the contest was the decision by Saskatchewan to take a knee on the final play of the game.

The Riders head coach explained his decision on Monday.

“It’s completely done to protect to the players.” Dickenson continued, “We were not giving up, we scored on a 104 yard punt return with a minute to go in the game,  we lined up, we kicked an onside kick with 36 seconds to go, we got it.”

He added that after unsuccessful attempts on offence to move the ball, the clock was about to run out of time.

“At that point you have to take your ego out of it, and your emotion, in my opinion out of the question or the decision and you got to protect your players. How would I feel if we threw up a hail mary and one of our guys came down and tore his knee or what if one Calgary’s player tore his knee, cause the guys are going to play, so I think we have a responsibility and obligation to protect our players first and foremost.”

Dickenson said that it was an easy decision to take the knee at that point of the game.

Also on Monday, the Riders head coach discussed the move to make a switch at quarterback.

Looking to provide a spark to the Roughriders offence,  the green and white elected to give Mason Fine his first career start on Saturday.

The second year quarterback ended up with 196 yards passing with a touchdown and no interceptions against Calgary.

The Riders head coach wanted to give Fine a full week of practice as the first string quarterback leading up to the contest against the Stampeders.

“I’m fine with the decision to go with Mason, it was my decision, I certainly got support from Jeremy (O’Day) and the coaches on it, but we wanted to see what Mason could do, we felt like we weren’t scoring enough points, did we score much more? Not really, but I felt he looked comfortable back there , I felt like our passing game was better and we still have Cody (Fajardo) for short yardage , I really felt like it was the right to do , win, lose or draw .”

Dickenson added when basing his decisions he relies on his instincts. He pointed out that Riders loss to Calgary was due to a variety of reasons, with the play of his quarterback not being near the top of the list.

The announcement of Fine assuming the starting quarterback duties was delayed until the second day of practice last week. Dickenson said they wanted to do that because they wanted to observe the North Texas product with the first string offence for another day before the announcement, as well it presented a little bit of confusion for their opponent, the Stampeders.

He also pointed that other teams in the league are less transparent than the Riders when releasing information about injuries and the team’s depth chart. Dickenson says that he has the opportunity to play the same mind games that other coaches do across the league.

“Sometimes I’m not going to tell them everything, the reality is people don’t have the right to know everything that’s going on here it’s still our team that we’re trying to run to give us the best chance to win and  sometimes I’m going to be a little vague in what I’m going to say because it’s in the best interest of the team.”

Dickenson also did provide an update on safety Mike Edem who left Saturday’s game and was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons following a collision on the field.

“He’s (Edem) at home and he’s doing fine, every test they gave him at the hospital came back negative.”

Saturday will mark the end of the 2022 season for the Saskatchewan Roughriders when they visit the Calgary Stampeders. 620 CKRM will have full gameday coverage beginning with Countdown to Kickoff at 3:00, opening kickoff 6:00.

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